Archives: Content

Ghosts: War Artifacts

By William Betcher   

“Ghosts: War Artifacts” – reinterprets historical photographic portraits to portray the emotions and damage of war. Using images from the American Civil War, I remove the metal mattes from the original 1860’s memorial cases to reveal the vivid patina of oxidation. I then print them as transparencies which are mounted on 24”x30” acrylic, reminiscent of… Read more »

Terror Management Theory

By Quintin Collins   

To measure humanity’s purpose in hunger and funerals, count divots in the bark of an oak tree. The voids collect raindrops, nestle the beetle and the worm. In the hollows that litter our peripheral vision, measure humanity as the depth of a stomach or the depth of a grave. I want to believe everything tossed… Read more »

Elegy as a Room for My Dead

By Quintin Collins   

I try to reinvent you. A white gravestone in a field of white gravestones: I conjure this image instead of you. When you died, I was asked to write an elegy for the funeral. I didn’t know how to make you from the blank page, another cavity for the body you inhabited to fill. Even… Read more »

etymology ft. urban dictionary

By Quintin Collins   

after Airea D. Matthews   because my parents liked a filmmaker or so I’m told pulp fiction means blood splatter spells marvin’s brain on the rear windshield  means quentin tarantino my parents would spell Q-U-I-N-T-I-N their own magic  transformation but still fits in mouths when teachers roll call or for job interviews  but still quentins… Read more »

Five Short Essays on Open Secrets

By MC Hyland   

For Laura Henriksen & the Secret Feminist Book Club Months after Fiona Apple’s voice fills my apartment every day for weeks, I find one of her lines straying repeatedly into my head. I too used to want him to be proud of me / And then I just wanted him to make amends. It’s a… Read more »

Essay on Paper

By MC Hyland   

Once, my time was valueless because I lived somewhere very cheap. After that, in a new town, I was unable to secure enough paid work, and my time remained untethered from cash economies. In the first town, I learned many small luxuries: seventy-five cent beers at the bar on weeknights; weeding at the organic farm… Read more »

Poem Misquoting Paul’s Letter to The Corinthians

By Keith Kopka   

I’m beginning to equate God with nothing but the tedious stammer of Porky Pig’s bald body popped through the center of a bass drum, announcing the end of another Merry Melodies production. A vacuum where no one dies until they look down in midair. Years I’ve spent writing a sight gag for the failure of… Read more »

What the Seven Taught Me About Love

By Foolan Flopez   

If you love the ducks, don’t feed them bread. If you’re brown af, don’t feed them tortillas. She didn’t teach me the second bit, but to be fair, she was like *maybe* seven. We don’t expect sevens to be smarter than us, but here she was, chasing down a clearly sad middle-aged man and his… Read more »


By Livia Meneghin   

plums melt on linens washed just yesterday the stain is shaped like her face she thinks a fan moves the air but she has no desire to rise she cannot tell her daughter about her bed about her cold pillow & sweat- drenched sheets or how figs are the only food worth eating in august… Read more »

Wound City Diptych

By Ellen Austin-Li   

I. At night, I move among the beds. In this city, the streets are corridors branching into alleys that run between bodies wrapped in gauze. I speak this language native to wounds: friable, purulent, granulating, necrotic. We say serous and mean straw-colored. We agree this drainage indicates healing. Serosanguinous, still a fine rosé. At the… Read more »

Wedding Portrait

By T. R. Poulson   

The vows hover like smoke and glitter, his mind clichéd with memory: faces, hands, and smoke of New Years’ night, his search for empty.  His find was her. They ran on beaches, talked and joked as in a novel, first kiss taken, thunder and lightning, roses, whole nine yards.  Six Flags, the Sky Coaster.  He… Read more »

Desert Crossing…

By Marcie Rendon   

I am yaqui, pasquali, Mexican, pronghorn, sand lizard, gringo, I and the sons and daughters of migrant dreams Gringos come south looking for eye candy Hot tamales and discounted medical care Mexica’s head north Hungry for a slice of apple pie With dreams bought on credit And hopes Western Unioned home each fortnight I am… Read more »


By William R. Stoddart   

     1. Gdansk. My father in a pram. That’s his older brother Moshe standing like a soldier, his cap pushing out his ears. Grandmother and grandfather on the settee wear borrowed clothing from the photographer: grandfather a black frock coat over a high-collared shirt, grandmother some dusty, Edwardian straight jacket. They’re not smiling.  The occasion is… Read more »


By Suzanna Slack   

I was trying to inhale the dry air of America by videotelephony. I thought I had nothing to contribute. “All I can think of is smell, because I made a pie and I had some essential oil burning to get rid of the smell but all I can really smell behind the oil is the… Read more »


By Ellen June Wright   

Let me take you into the room where I slept in a stranger’s house. Let me take you into the darkened room by the amber glow of one small lamp— into the musty room of the two-story where I slept the untroubled sleep of an innocent; then opened my eyes to see, as if in… Read more »


By Cathleen Cohen   

For Faith Paulsen At midnight in a quiet house I hold up blue spheres cut from cold press rag paper because a friend requested a cover for new book, Cyanometer, named for an invention of Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, 18th -century explorer, who gauged weather by the sky’s color. This helped when climbing Mont Blanc and… Read more »

Soil Horizons

By Cole Depuy   

On the freeway’s shoulder, I keep a tightrope. The officer says, Put your hands behind your back. A gravestone. Barbed-wire. Trees grow through anything. Cells divide & flow. Swallow the chainsaws. The brain is just neurons. An LLC in Oregon to turn corpses to mulch. Turn flesh into something more useful than ash. There’s a… Read more »

Dollar Store Wine

By Hugo Paz   

  The other night as I was watching Rocky 3 for the millionth time I believe, I cried when Mickey died in Rocky’s arms his anguish as real as mine I felt it within me welling up, the tears pouring down like the Dollar Store wine I drink nightly the weeks of holding it all… Read more »

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

By Ilan Mochari   

The poet Natalka Bilotserkivets was an active participant in Ukraine’s Renaissance of the late-Soviet and early independence period. We’re fortunate at Solstice to count two translators of her work, Ali Kinsella and Dzvinia Orlowsky, as members of our community. Ali and Dzvinia’s most recent book, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow: Poems by Natalka Bilotserkivets… Read more »

Reviews and Interviews Editor’s Note

Reviews and Interviews Editor’s Note

By Ilan Mochari   

Protesting is one thing when it is done by typing in a rectangular box on a social media platform. It’s quite another thing when it’s done in person. If you want to learn more about two poets well-versed the latter approach, you’d be hard pressed to find a better memoir than Mark Pawlak’s My Deniversity.… Read more »

World Happiness Index by Kathleen Aguero

By Jennifer Martelli   

World Happiness Index  by Kathleen Aguero  Tiger Bark Press, 2022  85 pages   In her poem, “Self-Portrait,” Kathleen Aguero writes:   I live in a land of trash and extravaganza. I know the party’s over by used condoms and empty nip bottles rolling in the street. The poems in Aguero’s latest collection, World Happiness Index,… Read more »

It’s All Just Writing: Defying Genre in The Yellow Book

By Ilan Mochari and Sam Cha   

The Yellow Book ([PANK], 2020), Sam Cha’s anti-genre opus, is intentionally, wonderfully, and sublimely elusive to conventional description. To quote the blurb: “The speaker opts for camouflage, transformation, and evasion. The book, similarly, aims to elude identification, to contradict itself.” For all of these reasons and more, Solstice was elated when Sam agreed to guest-edit… Read more »

Five Questions for Erica Charis-Molling

By Robbie Gamble   

Erica Charis-Molling’s How We Burn will be published in April 2022 as part of the Robin Becker Chapbook Series at Seven Kitchens Press. Robbie Gamble: I’d like to start with the title, which is so apt, and so compressed, and speaks to so many layers of your chapbook, beginning with the fundamentalist Christian belief about… Read more »

Five Questions for Quintin Collins

By Ilan Mochari   

Quintin Collins’ second collection of poems, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, was selected by Marcus Jackson as winner of The Journal’s 2020 Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize.   Ilan Mochari: In your notes you mentioned the inciting impulse for Claim Tickets for Stolen People was the poem “The Moon is Trans” by Joshua Jennifer Espinosa.… Read more »

Eating Lightbulbs and Other Essays by Steve Fellner

By Amy Grier   

Eating Lightbulbs and Other Essays by Steve Fellner The Ohio State University Press, November 2021   “I wanted to eat lightbulbs. I wanted to hear my teeth crunch the little pieces. I wanted to swallow them, I wanted to feel them cutting the insides of my throat.” This striking admission begins the titular essay of… Read more »

Five Questions for Robbie Gamble

By Eileen Cleary   

Robbie Gamble is the author of A Can of Pinto Beans, a chapbook that chronicles his experiences volunteering with No More Deaths, an organization that provides medical and material support for migrants passing through dangerous stretches of the Sonoran Desert along the Arizona/Mexico border. Eileen Cleary is the author of two poetry collections: Child Ward… Read more »

Translating a Ukrainian poet whose “urgent, evocative lyricism spoke directly to my heart.”

By Jennifer Martelli, Dzvinia Orlowsky and Ali Kinsella   

Natalka Bilotserkivets was an active participant in Ukraine’s Renaissance of the late-Soviet and early independence period. Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow: Poems by Natalka Bilotserkivets (Lost Horse Press, 2021), translated from the Ukrainian by Ali Kinsella and Dzvinia Orlowsky, brings together a selection of Bilotserkivets’ poetry written over the last four decades. “Wolf Wine… Read more »

Five Questions for Jonathan Papernick

By Ilan Mochari and Jonathan Papernick   

Jonathan Papernick is the author of two short story collections, The Ascent of Eli Israel and There Is No Other and three novels, the most recent of which, I Am My Beloveds, debuted in April. Ilan Mochari: The book is narrated from a close third-person perspective that stays with the protagonist, Ben Seidel, throughout the… Read more »

Made Man by Jendi Reiter

By Robbie Gamble   

Made Man by Jendi Reiter Little Red Tree Press, 2022 140 pages   A quick scan of the table of contents of Made Man, Jendi Reiter’s third poetry collection, indicates that the reader is in for a comitragic, day-glo accented, culture-hopping, snort-inducing, gender-interrogating rollercoaster of a ride. Titles like “It’s Not Sensory Processing Disorder, You’re… Read more »

Poetry in Translation Editors’ Note

Poetry in Translation Editors’ Note

By Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel   

How do we counter the darkness, but with light—and the poems featured here come at a decisive and timely moment. Mariangela Gualtieri writes what we need is an embodiment of “real grief to birth,” to act out of an empathetic being with one another, to “hold hunger inside/for another’s hunger.” This transcendent power of connection… Read more »

Three Poems by Mariangela Gualtieri

By Mariangela Gualtieri and Cristina Viti   

translated from the Italian by Cristina Viti     Aidoios The word Αἰδοῖος is untranslatable. It is connected to the particular kind of respect due to an unfortunate person who is begging us… It is not to our credit that neither French nor, as far as I know, any other modern language has a word… Read more »

Three Poems by Justyna Bargielska

By Justyna Bargielska and Maria Jastrzębska   

translated from the Polish by Maria Jastrzębska   Bug There was only one and he died instantly. Someone had trodden on him on the first step, if you count from the bottom, or on the last if you count from the top. Something poured out of him as he lay there. My daughter asked if… Read more »

The Shark

By RoodlyLaurore and Jerrice J. Baptiste   

translated from the French by Jerrice J. Baptiste     In the hollow of a dark and quiet mountain, where the wind stops blowing, leaves of the trees are silent birds don’t sing. You don’t even hear the sound of silence. It was midnight, the sky was overcast no moon, no stars a mysterious but… Read more »

Poetry Editor’s Ukraine Note

Poetry Editor’s Ukraine Note

By Robbie Gamble   

We were just putting finishing touches on this Spring 2022 issue of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices when Russian military forces invaded Ukraine. It’s hard to know what to do when it feels like tectonic social forces are coming unhinged around the globe, but we felt we could at least shine a small spotlight… Read more »

Guest Poetry Editor’s Note

Guest Poetry Editor’s Note

By Sam Cha   

Look, I know I’m supposed to be the editor, and I know that as an editor I’m supposed to control myself, write something neutral and beige, with carefully picked quotes woven together into a perfectly acceptable and perfectly forgettable whole. But the truth is I adore these three writers: Mariya Deykute, MC Hyland, and Suzanna… Read more »


By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

none of our mothers believed they were dead they peeled things, boiled things, bled, bled, bled they worried over the price of meat, wore red none of us believed we were born of wounds we have our feet our bantiki our books our capital letters & our dreamed battlegrounds you see how I cannot decide… Read more »

Sonnets in Astana 4

By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

—in mid-step, in the yellow suspended capillaries, I Freeze; the guests have come unbidden; retreat, retreat! I trust my husband not to dash my son’s brains out, I Trust the engineer was sober; trust the bombs sleep. I check the locks, I check the locks, I check the locks. I trust my body, I trust… Read more »

Sonnets In Astana 5

By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

If betrayal is a small word; rot Camouflaging as change; if I Lost the bare feet you loved; If my spine grew spikes; kiss The pictures of me you put In the cookie tin with the exes I’d like to press my ex-body Into stratified, metamorphic Dishwater —  what? No, I’m not mad — I’m… Read more »

Nonfiction Editor’s Note

Nonfiction Editor’s Note

By Richard Hoffman   

In the broadest sense, the four essays collected in this issue are about identity — about how we situate ourselves in relation to the larger historical, economic, political, and cultural reality in which we find ourselves. In Zibiquah Denny’s “The Takeover,” for example, we see the inspiriting impact of adult courage on a young person… Read more »

The Takeover

By Zibiquah Denny   

  “It’s more than just a rock to us, it’s a stepping stone to a better future.” –John Trudell as told to a reporter after the takeover of Alcatraz Island                   They kicked in the doors at the crack of dawn. It was the first direct action by the Milwaukee American Indian Movement (AIM)… Read more »

The First Time I Told Someone

By Richard Jeffrey Newman   

  1. I never knew his name. When I picture him now, I see a man somewhere between my age—I’m fifty-nine—and ten or fifteen years younger. I don’t think of myself as old, but I think of him as “the old man in my building,” because that’s what he looked like to my twelve-year-old eyes.… Read more »

Half Empty, Half Full

By Lena (Sunada-Matsumura) Newlin   

  Two halves.  Together do they make a whole?  United, do they intertwine, mix, meld?  Half.  Can half alone, by itself, be whole?  Can half be complete?  What do you get if you double half?  Is there such a thing as a whole half?  What does it feel like to be half?  What does it… Read more »

A Fable for Yesterday

By Alexis Lathem   

  There is a farm in the heart of the Green Mountains that sits by a winding road near a bend in the river, its two-hundred-year-old brick house lording over the valley, a backdrop of forested mountains behind it. It is nestled in the landscape, as a New England farm is supposed to be. A… Read more »

Fiction Co-Editors’ Note

Fiction Co-Editors’ Note

By Anjali Mitter Duva   

What a provocative, multi-faceted, gifted fiction collection for the Spring! For each issue, with suggestions from our fine readers, we collaborate on which pieces to accept. Then we edit and proof certain stories. This time, Lee introduces you to four riveting pieces, each coincidentally dealing with crime and its impact on the survivors, while Anjali… Read more »

About Face

By Andrew Furman   

“Wait, what’s that you’re making for supper, father?” Ellen asked upon bursting into the kitchen from the mudroom, sniffing at the air like some feral creature, forgoing any prefatory niceties. Like, Hello. “Halibut au poivre,” I answered, because I figured the French might throw her off a bit, and because that’s what I was making.… Read more »

Visiting Hours

By Lew McCreary   

A WORLD lit up by the glint of snow. They drove the long drive in, up the steadily sloping hill, winding for no good reason around sweeping curves carved into the vast and open grounds. Pete Connerly drove and hummed along with the radio, finger-tapping the steering-wheel to the beat. Del Connerly imagined the view… Read more »


By John Blair   

Lee thought of himself as a fish. Fish were players; they hung out just beyond the current, in the calm eddies, and waited for things to come floating their way. When he was a little kid, his old man used to take him fishing when the weather got cool, late in the fall, on the… Read more »

Boomtown Girl

By Shubha Sunder   

There was no compound wall around the construction site, no watchman to tell the two girls they could not enter. Holding hands, they scurried behind an idle cement mixer and crouched low. Book bags rustled, tiffin carriers squeaked. Four eyes tracked skyward along the building’s length. Ten stories. A proper high rise, the township’s first.… Read more »


By Wendy Tong   

Mid-June, shimmering heat. First date. Roy’s: her choice. Daisy ordered roast chicken; Ben ordered a whole trout. “One of the most underrated fish,” he declared. After two bites, he asked for her fork and loaded up a mouthful after deftly sifting out the bones. “You have to try this.” “I don’t eat fish,” Daisy said,… Read more »